reiki, when spirit meets science

Of Magical Hands & Magical Lands

Once upon a time, there existed a land of immense beauty and magic.

The land was abundant with a variety of plants and trees.

The air was pure, the water pristine and the earth rich.

The humans who lived there co-existed in harmony with plants, animals and all of nature.

They knew they were dependent on plants and animals for their survival and had a deep reverence for them. They cared well for them and received nourishment from them with utmost gratitude.

These humans also knew that they were the more intelligent among all the species they co-existed with. They knew they could put their intelligence to use in constructive or destructive ways.

They were conscious of the ‘Web Of Energy’ that runs through all of existence. They knew they were connected to everything in creation – mineral, plant, insect, bird, animal, air, water, earth, sun, star, planet and galaxy.  

They were very in tune with the life force energy flowing through their beings. They viewed their hands as ‘Healing Hands’ and used them as instruments to offer comfort to those in distress.

Their connection to the warm pulse of the life force flowing through their palms served their growth and evolution in more ways than one – it brought wellness and energy to their physical bodies and made their minds more productive. It also opened their hearts and brought joy to their souls. These humans learnt to put their intelligence to best use and the vibration of their land rose higher and higher. Anyone coming there felt an instant sense of peace, ease and calm.

It’s not that darkness didn’t exist on this beautiful land. It did. However, these humans had mastered the art of alchemy. They accepted darkness when it showed up. They knew how to transform darkness – both within and around them – into something higher.

As a result, the vibration of the land was always on the higher side. Life flourished. Boundaries dissolved. Peace prevailed. Love ruled.

Dear Reiki Healers, does this story ring a bell deep within your heart?

This is the power of the energy you feel flowing through your palms each day!

We each have the power to choose how we wish to use this energy in the current time.

If we wish to weave realities like the one that existed on that magical land far far away, we must make the most constructive use of this energy!

reiki, when spirit meets science

The Gift Of Reiki For Plants

One of the best things about being a Reiki practitioner is that you get to share the gift of Reiki not just with humans but also with plants and animals.

The practice of offering Reiki to plants has shifted my relationship with them.

The plants in my little garden are no more just a slice of nature adorning my space. They are living beings that I feel a lot of love for.

I feel so very grateful for their healing presence in my space. Looking at them and being amidst them gives me comfort and peace.

I express my gratitude for their presence by offering Reiki and love to them!

Connecting to another living being purely through love, without having to say a word, is a soul-stirring experience indeed!

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

The Human Touch

The big brown eyes seemed to hold deep wisdom.  Even while I was talking with her mother, six-year-old Gowri’s (name changed) gaze never left my face. She appeared to be assessing me.

“Oh yes, she understands all that we say,” her mother said, “But she doesn’t talk to strangers.”

Throughout her pre-operative evaluation over the next few days, Gowri didn’t say a word to me despite my best efforts to hold a conversation with her.  As a surgical oncologist, my encounters are predominantly with older adults.  Maybe I had lost the knack for connecting with young children.

The day of surgery arrived. Unlike most children I have seen, Gowri was extraordinarily calm. She was sedated by the anesthesiologist in the presence of her mother and taken to the operating theatre. The surgery itself was a little more difficult than usual but all went well and it was over in about two hours.

My anesthesiology colleague was extremely gentle in waking Gowri out of anesthesia.  But as soon as she regained consciousness, she seemed very restless. The nurses tried to calm her down. She held up the little finger of her right hand.  The nurse asked her “Do you feel like peeing, child?” She shook her head.  But she still held up her little finger.

Was her finger hurting? The surgery was on her neck, so why would she show her little finger?  I ran all possible explanations in my head –  Was there any pressure on her hand during surgery? An electrocautery injury? An embolism into an artery supplying her hand? I was standing off to the side, but I came to take a closer look.  She had seen me in my scrubs before and recognized me immediately.  I took her hand to examine it – she immediately clasped her little finger around my own little finger and instantly became calm.

I tried my best but couldn’t examine her hand well in this position. My rational, non-emotional, clinical mind wanted to rule out any issue with her hand. But Gowri seemed to be content now. I kept holding her finger throughout her recovery from anesthesia and during her transfer to the post-operative ward. She had become her old calm self. After some time, we called her mother into the ward to see her.

Teary-eyed and anxious, Gowri’s mother came to her daughter’s bedside. Seeing her mother, Gowri gave a tiny smile. With the mother happily fussing over her, Gowri’s finger relaxed and let my hand go.  Quickly I checked her hand again to make sure all was OK. It was.

All Gowri had wanted was a human touch.

This article was first published on https://drsurajmanjunath.com/the-human-touch/

energy medicine, meditation

When Meditation Helps Relieve Stress

Over the last few months, I have developed an unusual condition that I have named a ‘Stress Cold.’

This ‘Stress Cold’ starts with me feeling the itch to move the muscles of my throat in a certain manner, which then triggers a runny nose and leads to continuous sneezing for a few minutes. If I pay attention to this condition, it seems to take on a life of its own and gets worse. It persists until I consciously decide to stop engaging with it or distract myself with another activity.

Of late, this mysterious condition has also begun to affect my sleep. Twice a week or so, I experience bouts of sneezing in my sleep and awaken as a result.

Recently, I was fast asleep when I developed one of these ‘Stress Colds.’ My husband Suraj was still up reading.

He shook me gently and said, “Are you alright?”

I was half-asleep and mumbled something that didn’t exactly make sense.

The sneezing persisted.

After a while, he placed his hand gently on my shoulder and asked again, “Are you alright? Do you need anything?”

At this point, I sensed a lovely flow of energy through his palm. He is not a Reiki practitioner. Yet, there was this sweet energy I could feel. The energy felt very comforting and reassuring. I believe anyone with an open heart can transmit healing energy to others. The frequency may be different from ‘Reiki’ but it is healing energy nonetheless.

This boost of energy helped me drift into restful sleep for a few minutes, after which I woke up. This time around, I was fully conscious and also had a wonderful feeling of well-being in my body, thanks to the surprise mini healing session I received!”

He said again, “Are you alright? You’ve been sneezing for a while now.”

I said, “I don’t understand what’s wrong! I can’t believe this condition has begun to bother me even while I am asleep. Something seems to be triggering me subconsciously.”

“Why don’t you do one of your energy healing practices before you head to bed? See if that helps?” he said.

I smiled and said, “Wow! You sure seem to know what will help me. Thanks a ton for reminding me to apply my own practices!”

I have now begun a bedtime meditation routine where I quickly tune in to my body and consciously release all traces of stress-energy before falling asleep. I got good results when I started off with this practice and enjoyed uninterrupted sleep. However, I plan to do it consistently for a few weeks and track my progress. This will help me see if this can be applied effectively long term.

I did not get into an analysis of what could be stressing me out. It could be any number of things, considering I have two energetic children to look after and lots of running around to do through the day. Stress cannot be avoided in life. However, it can certainly be managed effectively with all the wellness tools we have!

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Intuition In Medicine

What is this mysterious inner knowing?

That seems to keep life flowing.

When rationality does not find a way,

Intuition steps in with secrets to say.

The word ‘intuition’ is rarely used in medical terminology. But considering that medicine is both a science and an art, practitioners frequently use their intuition, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not.

Very often, a doctor knows what to expect from a patient the moment they set foot into the clinic. The subtle signals they give out during their consult and their body language speak volumes to an experienced practitioner. This art of assessment is honed over years of experience. Energy healers would probably call this an ‘energy field’ emanated by the patient.

Though medical treatments are evidence-based, they are often required to be delivered in various permutations and combinations, depending on the case being treated. Many decisions – for example, what is a probable diagnosis (and what could be other possible diagnoses), what treatment to give, what not to give, when to give, when to change it, when to stop, when to operate, and when not to operate – are often based on judgment and intuitive decision making.

Many people may not be conscious of the intuition operating in their lives. Nonetheless, it is used by almost everyone in varying degrees.

Excerpt from the chapter ‘Intuition In Everyday Life & Medicine’, When Spirit Meets Science by Dr. Suraj Manjunath.

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

Toughness & Temperaments: Stories From The Operation Theatre

“Good evening Sir!”

Suraj and I were walking towards the hospital car park when I heard some cheerful voices behind me. I turned around and saw two young women and a man passing by. 

The greeting was for Suraj. The three of them walked up to us, smiling.

“Hello! Meet Haripriya, my wife” said Suraj to the three of them. 

They smiled and nodded at me.  

“Meet Savita, Vinod and Nisha,” he said to me, “Savita and Vinod are among our best theatre nurses. They must have assisted me with at least 50 surgeries over the last one year. Nisha joined recently and is training to be a theatre nurse too.”

“That’s wonderful! Nice to meet you all,” I said.

“I’ve seen you often on the residential campus Ma’am,” said Nisha to me, “I live there too.”

“Ahhh, yes! I did think you looked familiar as well,” I replied.

We engaged in small talk for a few minutes and then parted ways. 

A week later, I was waiting for Suraj outside the operation theatre block, when I saw Nisha emerging from the entrance. She was walking hurriedly and had tears in her eyes.

She bumped into a senior nurse on her way out and wiped her tears as she explained something to her solemnly.

“Something seems to be wrong,” I thought to myself, feeling concerned.

A month later, I was on a walk in the residential campus when I ran into Nisha near the gate.

She recognized me immediately and said,

“Hello Ma’am! How are you?”

“I’m good Nisha.” I said, “Are you done for the day?”

“Yes Ma’am,” she said, “I assisted a complex case today. It went on for seven hours.”

“Wow!” I said, “You must have a lot of stamina.”

“Thank you Ma’am,” said Nisha and the expression on her face changed suddenly.

“Being a theatre nurse is tough Ma’am,” she said and paused.

“Yes, I can imagine,” I said, sensing there was more to her statement.

“It’s easy to work with some surgeons, difficult with others,” she went on, “I couldn’t handle the temperaments of some surgeons. So, I gave up last month and moved to ward nursing.”

I listened empathetically.

“However, I love to assist surgeries and thought my passion must be more important than the temperaments of others. So, I decided to switch back to working as a theatre nurse,” she said.

I recalled that day last month when I had seen Nisha in tears.

“Something upsetting must have happened while she was assisting that day,” I thought to myself.

“You’ve taken a good decision Nisha. Your love for you work is what counts most,” I said.

I shared this with Suraj later and asked him if it was really so hard for theatre nurses.

He said, “High pressure situations are commonplace during surgery – unexpected obstacles can show up and theatre nurses have to assist seamlessly. Some surgeons lose their temper when assistants aren’t able to keep up in the operation theatre.”

“Oh I see,” I said, “This high pressure environment must be hard on the surgeons as well as theatre nurses. Isn’t learning to be calm a part of your training? Isn’t it a helpful skill to have when one must perform under pressure?”

“Yes, it is. But it isn’t a formal part of training. It’s all learnt on the job,” he said, “Some people possess these skills naturally, some pick it up along the way and some never do.”

“So, problems with human behaviour and interpersonal skills are common to all professions I guess,” I said.

“Yes, of course,” he said.

I thought to myself that being a nurse must be hard. The work is demanding, while the pay isn’t great. In addition, nurses are required to withstand pressure from multiple ends.

Some months later, I bumped into Nisha again during one of my evening walks. She shared with me excitedly that she had received a good job offer from a reputed hospital in Oman and was relocating shortly.

“That’s very good news. Congratulations Nisha!” I said.

“Thank you Ma’am,” she said, “Thank God I decided to pursue my passion. The work experience I gathered as a theatre nurse here and the recommendation letters I got from several surgeons, including Dr Suraj, helped me get the job.”

“That’s awesome!” I said, feeling truly happy for her, “I wish you the best life has to offer.”

This incident made me reflect on different aspects of life – sensitivity in human beings, ability to stay calm under pressure, and the value of persistence and perseverance.

reiki, when spirit meets science

Reiki: Magic Minus The Flamboyance

Oh, beautiful Reiki

Of rainbow colours bright.

What a wonder you are,

Though nowhere in sight!

This little poem is from the first chapter of our book ‘When Spirit Meets Science.’

My first encounter with Reiki happened when I was a child. I was playing with a friend at her home when I saw her mother standing beside a plant, with her palms over it, eyes closed and keenly focused.

When I asked my friend what was going on, she told me her mother was practicing something called ‘Reiki’ and sending good energy to the plants.

This scene struck a chord deep within me. It felt very natural to me that someone should be doing this.

“Wow! How nice to be able to send good energy to a plant,” I thought to myself.

I believe a Reiki seed was gently planted in my consciousness that day.

Little did I know back then that this act of sending and sharing ‘good energy’ would become my purpose in life one day.

Around a decade later, in the year 2007, Reiki came into my life.

And this time around, it came in like a whirlwind.

I developed a strong calling to experience Reiki.

I was in a difficult phase in life and each day was a struggle. My soul pushed me to expand and to connect to something much larger than the ‘human struggling me.’

And Reiki training helped me achieve this connection successfully.

Soon after the training, life began to flow – whatever wasn’t working well for me made its way out of my life and positive new circumstances took birth, almost as if by magic.

Synchronicity kicked in and re-arranged my life, one step at a time.

I just took whatever practical action I had to take at each step and thereafter surrendered to an ‘Intelligence’ much bigger than me, trusting that everything I needed would come to me.

And it did. Even beyond my wildest expectations.

And if someone asks what the logic behind this magic is, I cannot answer – for Reiki is not concrete.

It cannot be seen or measured.

Its many possible effects are best experienced.

To me, Reiki is a subtle sweet force that works silently, offers support on different levels, and pushes you to become more of who you are.

Reiki is magical, without appearing flamboyant.

And this magic, which has been the very foundation of my growth and success, inspired me to begin the book with a poem dedicated to Reiki.

Thank you Reiki for everything you do for me and for everyone whose lives you touch!

when spirit meets science

The Logic & Magic of Energy Healing

“I want to avoid surgery for my knee. Please do something so I can heal without surgery.”

“My blood sugar is sky-high. Please bring it down with Reiki.”

‘My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Please make the tumor go away.”

In the past, I often felt stuck when clients placed medical healing requests before me.

I knew several people in the Reiki community who confidently told clients that they could heal all kinds of health conditions – right from sprained ankles to cancer. Having many friends in both energy healing as well as medical circles, I have often been a part of heated discussions and debates. When the energy healing community made medical claims and the medical community asked for evidence, the former was either not able to produce any, or the evidence they shared inevitably had many loopholes and could easily be dismissed.

As a result, I avoided taking up requests for healing of medical issues and felt frustrated when people approached me with such requests.

One day, Suraj said to me.

“What are you afraid of? All you have to be is authentic. Then neither will you feel frustrated nor will your clients.”

“What do you mean?” I said

“Can you say for sure if Reiki or any other energy healing modality can cure broken bones and cancerous tumors? You’ve trained in Reiki and also tried so many other modalities,” he said.

“Well, I personally can’t say for sure,” I said, “There are many anecdotal accounts of course. But I can’t say anything for sure.”

“My take is this -” said Suraj, “When it’s a question of another person’s health and well-being, just stick to sharing whatever you know for sure, especially if a regular medical solution is available to them. Until you know better, don’t offer medical solutions based on guesswork, hypotheses, hearsay, or possibilities. Tell people only what you know for certain, whether it’s about Reiki or other forms of energy healing.”

“Reiki helps to relax the body, calm the mind, and connects you to your soul. It helps you feel supported and inspires you to stay positive through challenges. Gosh! Reminds me of how comforted and energized I feel when I give myself Reiki,” I uttered in delight

“Perfect!” he said, “So, this is what you should be telling people without hesitation or fear. That’s enough value in itself, without having to cure any disease! Trust me, people will appreciate your honesty. When they see you being authentic, no one will insist that you must cure their wobbly knee or aggressive cancer. When they know what to expect, they are also happy and you are also happy.”

‘But you know, energy healing is so much more than just feeling happy or calm,” I said, “Through energy-based work, I have experienced a lot of life’s magic, synchronicity, and some really good stuff. Wasn’t Reiki a primary force behind my synchronistic meeting with you too? I may never have met you if not for Reiki,”

“Of course,” said Suraj, ‘Your clients may also discover the magical aspects of energy healing should they choose to practice it as sincerely as you do. However, it may surprise them in ways unique to them. Let the ‘magic’ be their discovery, not your promise. Magic is more fun when it is found rather than sought. What say?”

“Absolutely!” I said, feeling like a load had been lifted off my chest.

Now, I tell people clearly that Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment. I do take up medical cases but offer Reiki only as supportive care.

When friends and clients share positive feedback on how Reiki brought ease to their journey, my soul is satisfied. I take pride in the fact that Reiki has such a lot to offer in itself, without the added pressure to deliver medical outcomes. Reiki is indeed a gift.

energy medicine, reiki

Energy Healing Is A Two Way Process

“Let me tune in to your energy before I can say anything.”

“Can you tell me how you are feeling?”

“Let’s just go with the flow and see what shows up for you.”

“Let’s not go against the flow for now. Difficult as it may be, let everything be as it is. Let’s revisit this problem after some time.”

“Whatever is for your highest good is what you can expect from this session.”

“Can we let go and surrender completely to the energy? Let’s allow it to do its work.”

“Breathe energy into every cell in your body.”

“Something doesn’t feel right. The energy feels off. Let’s go deeper and see what comes up.”

“Looks like you’ve absorbed some negative energy. Can you work on clearing it?”

“You’re all high vibe today!”

Most healers are familiar with this kind of ‘Energy Talk.’ After a point in time, it begins to feel natural to talk like this!

I have been offering Reiki sessions for the last 14 years and have worked with a variety of clients. The most memorable sessions amongst these have been the ones I’ve done for other experienced energy healers and also for people who may not be trained energy healers but have had a fair amount of exposure to energy-based healing therapies.

The reasons being-

  1. It is an absolute joy to converse freely with them in ‘Energy Language’ and not have them look at you like – “Have you gone nuts?!”
  2. It is also easier to give them feedback because they know and understand the subtleties of energy work and are well aware of its potential as well as limitations. They don’t expect miracles and magic from the healer, and are ready to do their part to find solutions.

Energy healing, like all other forms of healing, is a two-way process. It’s not about the healer doing something to make a client’s problems disappear. Healers can only offer support by facilitating the process of healing and showing the light.

Barring a few exceptions, recipients of healing are not meant to be passive. They are expected to open their eyes, recognise the light, be in charge and make every effort possible to move in the direction of light. Only then is true healing possible.

modern medicine, when spirit meets science

A Message From A Butterfly

I was in a meeting when I had a weird sensation in my head.

It felt like I was conscious of the world around me, yet looking through a haze.

It was a routine school day in 2008. I had just said goodbye to the children in my class and was in a meeting with a co-teacher when these uncomfortable sensations kicked in.

Thankfully, the discussion ended soon and I packed my bag to leave.

I wanted to call Suraj. But I knew he had a long surgery scheduled that day. And unless things got out of hand, I didn’t wish to disturb him while he was operating.   

I headed straight home. I thought eating lunch and resting at home would help me feel better.

But the funny feeling got worse, in spite of being in the comfort of home.

“Something is seriously wrong,” I said to myself.

My mind raced with thoughts and worst-case scenarios popped into my head.

“What if I collapse? There’s no one around to help me! The neighbours are all at work”

“Gosh! What if I die by the time someone realises I need help and takes me to hospital? Oh my God! What do I do now?”

My heart began to pound.

At that moment, I remembered the times during our courtship days when I had waited for Suraj at the hospital. I mostly waited outside the Emergency Room (ER) of the hospital, as it offered comfortable seating under a canopy of trees. Every time I sat there, I observed the activity outside the ER with tremendous interest. I saw cars, auto-rickshaws, and ambulances bringing in sick, unconscious, and injured people every few minutes.

“That’s it!” I said to myself, “The area outside the ER may be the safest place for me to be right now! In case things get worse, I am certain to get some help.”

I sent a text message to Suraj describing what I was going through. I informed him I would be waiting outside the ER until he was free to come and see me.

I rushed to the hospital in fear, praying nothing would happen to me on the way!

I reached safely and found myself a comfortable place to sit underneath the canopy. As I waited, my body was on high alert, ready to run into the ER should my condition deteriorate!

I didn’t get better. But I didn’t get worse either. So, I didn’t feel the need to run in and continued to wait outside!

An hour later, I saw Suraj walking out of the building adjacent to the ER and heaved a sigh of relief.

From his smile, I knew he had read my text message. But I was surprised he didn’t look one bit anxious.

Cool as a cucumber, he came up to me and said, “Did you take your medicine this morning?”

I was on a course of medication for a suspected bacterial throat infection.

I said, “Yes.”

“Did you take the correct pill?” he said.

“Yes. I suppose so,” I said, feeling bewildered, “But why do you ask?”

He checked my pulse and said, “I’ll tell you. Come on, let’s go home.”

I was shocked to hear this and said angrily, “What? I’ve been feeling awful! Something is terribly wrong. I am not going anywhere until I am evaluated thoroughly and declared fine!”

“You ARE fine. I am telling you” he said, “Come on.”

I was frustrated. I felt like he wasn’t taking my symptoms seriously.

I insisted, “How can you dismiss my problem so casually? Don’t you believe me when I say I am seriously unwell?”

“You are NOT seriously unwell. Let’s go home,” he said reassuringly.

I wasn’t convinced but I was left with no choice but to go home.

Once we were home, he checked on the medicines I had been prescribed and waved them at me.

“This is the culprit,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I said, going closer.

“You’ve taken the wrong pill this morning,” he went on, pointing at a strip of pills, “This one was supposed to be taken just once last night. Remember?”

“And this other one was for the morning,” he said, pointing at another strip, “You’ve missed this and taken a second dose of last night’s pill. That’s why the funny feeling in your head.”

When I inspected the medicine, I saw for myself that I had made a mistake. I had been in a hurry that morning and ended up being reckless.

“Oh,” I said, feeling relieved despite my irritation, ”Is that all?”

“Yes,” he said, “Go, get some sleep. You’ll be fine when you wake up.”

I decided not to second guess my symptoms anymore and to trust him instead.  I followed his simple advice and slept soundly for a good two hours.

And sure enough, when I awoke, the unease had disappeared!

My vision was clear and my head felt normal.

I walked out of my room and saw Suraj in the kitchen.

“So, how are you?” he said, looking amused.

“I’m feeling fine,” I said and smiled.

“You’re just in time. I am making tea. Would you like some?” he said.

“Oh yes! I’d love some. Thank you,” I said.

As we sipped tea in the balcony, I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t trust you when you said there was nothing wrong with me. It’s just that I was so scared. I’ve never experienced something like this before and I thought something was seriously off.”

“It’s alright. I understand,” he said.

“But tell me,” I said, “How were you so certain that nothing was wrong?”

“Well, I know your medical background – healthy young woman, no underlying health issues, pulse was fine, face wasn’t flushed, just recovering from an infection, on a pill to decongest the throat, which in excess doses can have unpleasant side effects and multiple other observations of a similar nature. Often, medical evaluation happens in a fraction of a second, especially when we know the patient well.”

“I see. That’s pretty remarkable,” I said, nodding my head, “I didn’t know evaluation could be that quick!”

“Medicine is not just a science,” he said and smiled, “It’s an art too.”

“Yes. Makes sense,” I said.

At that moment, I noticed a yellow butterfly sitting on a potted plant near my feet.

To me, the butterfly is symbolic of lightness, positive change, and transformation.

I knew I had something to learn from this incident.

I whispered to the soul of the butterfly, “What message do you bring, beautiful soul?”

And I heard in my heart –

“Release the need to be in control always. Allow others to take the lead when necessary and trust the path that they show. Lighten your load. Life is built on trust, dear one.”